Everything you need to know about self-employment and working from home
Growing up, my answer to the classic “what do you want to be when you grow up” question was always a job that would provide prestige (and unbeknownst to me at the time: stability and benefits). I entered college to study pre-law, but quickly left to pursue a dreamier vision where I’m my own boss and making my own rules.
My new dream job is one that I share with millions of others. It has me working for myself on my own vision, and most importantly it provides the freedom and flexibility to work from home.
The appeal of working from home is undeniable, but there are a lot of questions regarding the details. I’ll walk you through the misconceptions, benefits and different ways you can start working from home.
- Working from home
- Misconceptions about working from home
- What you gain from working at home
- What you miss out from working at home
- How to work from home
Working from home
The opportunity to work at home can present itself in a number of different ways: whether you’re working for a company that offers remote positions or starting your own business, there is a lot to consider when you begin working from home.
If you’re working for someone else you might be working assigned hours every day, but if you’re working for yourself or freelancing you get to set your own schedule and make your own decisions.
Because the Teachable Team is all about teaching you how to build a course based business for yourself, for the purpose of this post we are going to assume you’re working from home as a kick-butt entrepreneur.
While working from home ultimately allows you great flexibility in how your days are structured, most people will recommend that you set yourself a schedule and stick to it in order to fall into a rhythm.
With that said, an entrepreneur’s day doesn’t have to be anything close to what most people consider to be typical. While the average American is slaving away at their 9-5, if you work at home you can choose to be working from 6-10, take a break and pick up where you left off in the evening.
Misconceptions about working from home
When people think of traditional jobs, chances are they are dreaming up visions of cubicles and fluorescent lighting, and anything that doesn’t meet that criteria can’t be a real job.
When you’re working from home (especially when you’re working for yourself) people will pass judgement and assume that you’re barely making ends meets and don’t have a long-term plan.
There is a new generation of innovators making their own rules and creating careers that work for them and it’s taking a while for more traditional minded people to come around, leading to many misconceptions.
- Your work from home job is lesser than an office job. It’s easy to look at your BFF who works from home growing her Etsy business and assume that her days are full of Netflix and playing with hot glue guns, but running a business from home is serious work. Don’t get me started about all of the systems you need to put in place and the level of organizational skill that is essential for success.
- You are struggling. Because people who are really successful are working 40 hour weeks from the comfort of their cubicle, right? There is a general misconception that if you’re working for yourself you must be barely making ends meet. Rest assured you don’t have to sacrifice financial security for the freedom of working at home.
- You are lazy. A lot of people joke that the best part of working from home is that they can work in their pajamas with nobody being the wiser. While that is true, it also feeds into the image of the lazy “online entrepreneur” that people seem to conjure up. Pajamas or not, entrepreneurs are working their tails off to ensure that their business will be a success.
- You couldn’t find a “real” job. This may be the most frustrating reality of working for yourself from home. Because people don’t yet understand the generation of movers and shakers making money on their own terms, they will assume that you’ve started this venture because you had no other option.
- You don’t have job security. Working for yourself can be terrifying, especially at first, but once you get into the groove, you’ll actually have more job security than people working for a company that they have no control over.
Even though we all know these misconceptions to be untrue you will probably find yourself having to defend your career choices over and over again. Just know that even if people don’t understand what you’re doing - that doesn’t matter. Keep chasing your vision and your definition of success and you’ll be OK.
What you gain from working at home
Home office inspo from Harpars Bazaar
There are so many advantages that come from working at home. Whether you’re craving more flexibility or the freedom to get work in your pajamas that can all be accomplished if you’re in a position that has you working from home.
Different people will derive different benefits from the freedom that comes from working at home and there is no better time to be self employed than today. With that said, I thought I'd touch on some of the key benefits of self employment.
The freedom to work when and how you choose is a big draw for people wanting to work from home. Night owls like me get their best work done when the rest of the world is sleeping, which doesn’t align with the typical 9-5.
Sure you will still have the same deadlines you need to make, but instead of working an eight hour day all in one sprint, you can work a few hours in the morning, take you kid to soccer and then pick up where you left off if you need to.
Working for yourself and setting your own hours means that you can be involved in whatever you’d like so long as you plan your work day accordingly.
A lot of office employees are used to being micromanaged which has a way of stifling creativity and self-worth. Working from home allows you to take back your schedule and set your own priorities in a way that’s not always possible working in an office.
Furthermore, working for yourself and by yourself gives you a sense of responsibility. When things go right you know you’ve done well, but when things aren’t going so great (and that’s normal, you’ll move past it!) you’ve got nobody to blame except yourself.
The ability to work from anywhere in the world is a dream come true for a lot of people. We recently interview Lydia Lee of Screw the Cubicle. She quit her job, started her online business and moved around the world to Bali.
Being able to pick up and leave on a whim and still be able to run your business might be one of the most attractive benefits of working from home.
Whether you are packing up for a last minute road trip or backpacking across Southeast Asia, so long as there is wifi you can run your business.
No, really. Working for yourself provides more job security because it puts you in control. James Altucher asked, “How many people can make a major decision that will ruin your life?” arguing that in corporate America it just takes one person to decide that you’re no longer beneficial to the company and cut you loose, whereas when you work for yourself you can set up so many revenue streams that no one person can ruin you.
Whether you’re a blogger, freelancer, course creator, writer, or something entirely different you are in charge of your own success and opening doors so no one missed opportunity can ruin your career.
No limit to your success
When you work for a company there is a good chance that you’re working for a salary. There is no chance of rising above that set figure, and the most you can look forward to is your yearly 2% raise.
When you’re working for yourself, there is no ceiling on your potential. The harder you work and the more revenue streams you pursue, the more financially successful you’ll be.
People tend to rise to the bar that’s set for them, but if there is no bar limiting you there is no telling how successful you may be.
What you miss out on from working at home
In order to provide a balanced look at the issue, let’s discuss what you will be missing out on because there are some perks of office life that you might find yourself missing when you leave the 9-5.
Time to leave the your 9-5? Check out Make Change Weekly for tips and inspiration.
Working with other people is fun. Beyond bouncing ideas around and building synergistic work relationships, it’s nice being able to have human interaction every day. When you work at home you might be spending all day and night holed away working on your latest project when all the sudden it hits you: the only person you’ve talked to in the past three days was the cat.
At work, you always need to be on top of your game. Buzzfeed quizzes and Instagram scrolling aside, you have work to do.
At home, it’s another story entirely. Working from home and creating your own deadlines can cause those deadlines to seem a little less strict and distractions can run rampant. “Just five minutes” turns into “three hours later and I still have a million things to do” quicker than you might think.
When you’re surrounded by people working hard and focusing, it’s easier to work hard and focus yourself.
In an office environment you can probably rely on your team to help pick up the slack if something huge comes up and you can’t make a deadline. When you work for yourself, though, you’re on your own.
Furthermore, folks who are on the more extroverted side may find the solitude of working from home unnerving. Many people crave a lot of human interaction and work best when surrounded by others.
How to work from home
As I mentioned earlier, there are so many different ways you can work from home. A lot of companies offer remote positions that allow you to still be a part of a team, or you can consider freelancing or starting a handful of side hustles.
If you hadn’t already guessed it, I want to explain the reasons why you should consider starting a course based business with Teachable.
We’ve crunched the numbers and have found that online courses are one of the best business models an online entrepreneur can follow, with our average instructor making over $5000, but beyond that courses are a quick and easy way to establish yourself as an expert and build an audience.
Through my job here at Teachable I’ve been able to see so many success stories and I’ve had the opportunity able to follow successful launches of both small and large influencers. Through my unique experience here I’ve learned a lot about what goes into a successful course launch, and I’ve realized that the formula for success is simple and easily replicable.
If you’re interested in learning Teachable’s 7 step method to a successful course launch sign up for our weekly webinar! We present it live every week with a Q&A at the end.
Don’t think that you need to be teaching a specific topic, either, we have seen successful courses on every topic imaginable ranging from watercolor painting to cake decorating to programming and everything in between. Whatever your course idea is, chances are you’ll be able to find an audience that can benefit from it.
For your course based business to be a success, though, you’ll need a targeted audience. Luckily for you, your audience probably hangs out in the same online communities that you do. From there you can offer them a free lead magnet to start collecting emails and marketing your course.
Have you started a course based business yet? What has been your biggest struggle? Any tips on overcoming it?